Robert Roskell of Liverpool Fusee pocket watch- Is It Original or a Swiss Fake?

Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by Lewis Fitzgerald-Holland, Jul 2, 2013.

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  1. Lewis Fitzgerald-Holland

    Lewis Fitzgerald-Holland Registered User

    Jan 6, 2013
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    Hi Folks,
    I bought this on a whim today and I really don't know much about English or Fusee pocket watches, but I thought it seemed to be in excellent condition. It doesn't run though, unless I apply a slight amount of pressure to the mainspring with the key, then it takes off. One odd thing, it seems to wind counter-clockwise, is this normal? Anyways, here are the photos, I'm just curious what the verdict is as far as age, originality and origins. I also found it odd that the watch paper in the back was from St. Louis Missouri in an English watch.
    Thanks,
    Lewis 016.jpg 017.jpg 018.jpg 011.jpg 014.jpg 009.jpg 005.jpg 003.jpg
     
  2. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Lewis,

    This is certainly genuine! The case was assayed in Chester in 1818, but the maker's mark is rather rubbed, so hard to distinguish the first letter. The mark may be clearer in the outer case of the pair, but be very careful if you remove the watch-paper, they're quite fragile.

    The movement looks like a rack lever which was somewhat of a cul-de-sac in the development of the lever, but gave a decent performance, certainly better than the verge. They weren't detached, and tended to wear quickly. The shape of the balance cock is typical. Roskell is a well-regarded maker.

    Fusee watches do typically wind anti-clockwise by the way.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  3. Skutt50

    Skutt50 Registered User

    Mar 14, 2008
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    To find a watch paper from the US in an English watch tells you that the watch was at one time serviced in the US!

    There are examples of watches with a number of watch papers in one watch and I guess it was some early advertising thing. There should also be some hand written codes in the lids from services made over the years.
     
  4. MartyR

    MartyR Super Moderator
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    Lovely watch, Lewis :) ... keep having those whims!

    The punches on the pendant in your second and third photos are further partial hallmarks. The first is the Sterling silver mark (lion) and the second may be the town mark. The pendant would probably have been made a specialist, a different man from the casemaker.

    I think Roskell was one of the group of Liverpool makers who were very much into exporting to America (together with Tobias and Johnson) so I could easily believe this watch was originally sold in the USA>
     
  5. Lewis Fitzgerald-Holland

    Lewis Fitzgerald-Holland Registered User

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    #5 Lewis Fitzgerald-Holland, Jul 2, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2013
    Thanks for the info folks, I had never even heard of a rack lever escapement before this evening, so I'm just learning as I go here. I wonder if the wear in escapement then is the reason why it won't stay running, or perhaps it's just quite gunked up and needs a good cleaning and service.

    I did take a look gently under the paper in the back but only saw more and more layers of watch papers underneath so I didn't feel particularly keen on messing with them, they appeared to be blank though. The Initials in the inner cover however do appear to be E M. There are other watchmaker's marks in the back of the inner case. I did find this one thing on C.D. Sullivan and Co in the name search I just completed, it appears that he was a silversmith in St. Louis Missouri in the 1840's and 50's, so I would imagine then that he was a watchmaker who serviced it at a later date.

    I really did buy it on a whim! I purchased it at an auction earlier today without even seeing what was under the dust cover, so I really had no idea what I was buying, and I was a little unnerved when I typed in the Roskell name into the search bar here and most of what I found seemed to relate to swiss fakes that utilized the Roskell name, so I'm glad I ended up with the real thing!
     
  6. Lewis Fitzgerald-Holland

    Lewis Fitzgerald-Holland Registered User

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    Also, I just ran across this English watch that has a very similar case which appears to have the same marks as mine, and the initials appear to actually be B M, I don't know if this is any help in determining the maker of the case.
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Arthur-Briars-Chester-Georgian-rack-lever-escapement-pocket-watch-1818-/271197886699?pt=UK_Jewellery_Watches_Pocket_Watches_Accessories_ET&hash=item3f24a758eb&nma=true&si=m6zB%252BAEoKiOaRk2kT5Ta1Tcorks%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557
     
  7. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    #7 gmorse, Jul 2, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2013
    Hi Lewis,

    I can't find a "BM" in Priestley with the right style, (known as incuse), but there is a possible "EM" in the Chester "Reasonable Attributions" list, of Edward Maddock II at Edmund Street, Liverpool.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  8. Lewis Fitzgerald-Holland

    Lewis Fitzgerald-Holland Registered User

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    Thanks Graham for that info, I'm going to bet then that it's EM inside the case and possibly Edward Maddock of Liverpool as the manufacturer.

    My question is then, what kind of a shot do i have at getting this watch running? The Fusee pivot itself seems a little loose, I'm assuming there should be no play here? Also, the fusee chain itself is fully wound around the fusee but detached from the mainspring barrel, it looks like the hook may be gone on the end but I can't tell. The balance swings freely, and if i rotate it from side to side the watch will tick a few beats and then stop, I'm assuming that's because the mainspring is providing no power because it's not wound up and the fusee is detached.
     
  9. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Lewis,

    You'll need to find someone who's competent, (and willing), to work on this type of movement, as it's outside the experience of many repairers. If you're inexperienced in watch work yourself, these are not a good place to start learning! If it's just the chain which is broken, I guess it's not too hard to fix, just very delicate, but the watch will need fully dismantling for a clean and lubrication as well. Depending on how much shake there is on the fusee pivots, one or both may need re-bushing, and that needs at least a lathe and some special tooling.

    Regards,

    Graham
     

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